The Junior-Senior Ball at Trinity College, where I was teaching in 2004, cost $45. Linda and I decided that we would not go. $90 plus a $20 parking fee and the hassle of Friday evening traffic into Chicago was not our idea of a good time.
The day of the ball was warm and sunny, so I took my lunch to a picnic table near the cafeteria. After a bit Ann and Meghan, two seniors, came along. Could they have lunch with me? “Sure,” I said. They walked back to their rooms in Madsen Hall to make lunch.
Prof. Bill Moulder walked by, saw me, and sat down. We talked for awhile before Ann and Meghan came back with their homemade lunches. The subject of the ball came up. Bill said, “Why don’t you go?” Ann said, “Yes, you should go.” “Can’t now,” I replied. “The deadline was three weeks ago.” “I can go tell Justine in Student Development that you want to go,” Bill replied. I wavered. “Would you dance with me if I went?” I asked Bill. “Yes,” he said. “And I can drive.”
Bill got up and went to the student development office. When he came back he said, “You’re on. You can pay on Monday.” Ann and Meghan got big smiles on their faces.
Bill drove while I read poetry to him from the recent issue The Trillium, the campus arts journal. We parked a mile away from The Drake, for free, and walked to the hotel.
Dancing started after dinner, a slide show, a talk, and a short dancing lesson by Prof. Carmen Mendoza. The lesson didn’t stick in me too well, except for the foxtrot. So that is what I did all evening, modified in various ways. About half of the people I danced with were male, and the other half were female. The females usually asked me to dance, but I had to ask the males. Once when I was dancing with Bill Moulder someone cut in on me and I had to step aside. That rather annoyed me. My look of consternation must have been evident to one of the onlookers, as she was staring at me with a large grin. I didn’t know who she was, but I waved her out onto the floor, and we danced away.
Ann danced with me the most and Bill the second most. At midnight the last dance was announced. Nathan was nearby, so I said, “Would you like to do the last dance with me?” He did. We had the floor mostly to ourselves as we danced, hand to hand, sometimes smoothly and sometimes awkwardly. Afterwards, Bill and I walked back to the car amidst the downtown Chicago street life.